Giacomo Desiante is a complete artist, an accordionist extremely versatile: the inexhaustible musical culture, the result of many experiences that have enabled him to successfully practice a plethora of genres. Through this interview he talks about himself and his intense professional activity.
The beginning of your musical career is tied to the band of your village, a true “gym” for all young musicians. This experience has been for you a springboard?
I was about five years old, when I performed in public for the first time accompanied by the drum band of my village. My father, a passionate musician, taking me regularly to listen to the band that was performing in the square, because at the time attending the band environment was the only way, especially for those who had no major economic possibilities, to approach the world of music and learn how to play an instrument. More than a real springboard, the band experience was in my case a great learning opportunity.
You are a lively folk music lover. This kind of music do you still influences today?
Not only do I still influences today, but constantly looking for new projects to continue to practice it in an alternative way and with different bands. As a musician I have always been convinced that we can not ignore the knowledge of the music created by the spontaneity of the people that crystallizes customs and popular conventions, which is a symbol of beliefs, rituals, spirituality, which in one word is life. Fortunately limiting hierarchy between genres brought into being by the historical opposition between popular and classical music, to date, it seems to go gradually disappearing, and many seek to revive traditional melodies and instruments.
The reasons are many and, unfortunately, not all positive. I certainly have no difficulty in admitting that curiosity towards all existing musical instruments, without exception, from the technical and expressive possibilities, by sound and dynamic mixes that can be achieved by combining them with one another. Surely they understand the mechanisms of many learned to play several instruments and has helped also to my work as an arranger, composer and conductor. I love writing music, especially for orchestra. I love playing with rhythms and harmonies, creating a dialogue among the instruments, treat the allocation of parts, compose and arrange thinking of orchestra musicians and their need for fun in the play as much as I amuses me to direct. Yet I can not deny, first of all to myself, that my being multi-instrumentalist has also been, and unlucky, a consequence of lack of guidance, a solid point of reference and charismatic, someone who can tell me a single road to follow and avoid wasting precious time and saving me from periods of anxiety linked to the ingoing search for musical identity.
Your main instrument is the accordion. Why did you decide to dedicate yourself to it?
It’s easy, because the accordion represented for me the synthesis of all the instruments that I have studied, practiced as it translates very well all languages. It is definitely an instrument that due to its complexity and comprehensiveness, in my opinion, is able to speak more languages.
Jazz, Latin, Brazilian jazz, Latin, Afro-Cuban jazz, Blues and Pop are genres for which you show a natural inclination. There is a stylistic feature in particular, among them, that represents you?
There is one in particular stylistic feature that represents me the most, rather in all these genres there is one common aspect that attracts me, and it is something that is rhythmic. The rhythm is order, movement, rhythm is the sequence of events, it is frequency, proportion, relationship, rhythm is cyclical succession of seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years, the rhythm is the life that flows. Of all these genres, rhythm is the essence, as it is essence of existence itself. Suffice it to say that we are alive thanks to the heart rhythm, which cannot stop nor indulge arrhythmias. My obsession with the rhythm? Probably because the drum was the first instrument I ever played and chopsticks for the battery the first highly desired gift.
You’ve racked up a host of collaborations alongside renowned musicians in the world, but it is necessary to mention an artist, above all, with whom you have had the privilege and honour to share the stage: Richard Galliano.
What did it mean for you perform with one of the greatest jazz accordionists of the past 40 years?
Play with Richard Galliano was first of all a beautiful dream come true. This great opportunity that I have been given by all those who were involved in the project represented a great opportunity for musical and human growth. Playing with the big is paradoxically easier to play with everyone else. The master (Richard Galliano), in an evening, managed to send me all his experience on the stage, as if he had actually made me an injection of self-esteem so strong as to make me feel secure in all my performances. Richard Galliano is a great man, even before being an excellent musician. To him I owe my passion for the accordion.
They are garments in which I feel myself all the way, every time a project ends remain the hope and the desire to continue to tell my story.
Among the many job satisfaction there is a concert in 2007 held at the Ministry of Education, representing all music conservatories. As you have presented this opportunity?
Nothing earth-shattering, I was just asked by a dear colleague who had already played for the Ministry, and he proposed me for the event. I still have the pleasant memory of the great warmth with which the audience took part in the concert.
You are also very active as a teacher. How do you live the “mission” of the teacher?
Oddly enough, although he has always taught, in fact I have always concentrated more on teaching than on the concert scene. At first, when it was my first job at the conservatory, I had the feeling of being out of place. Subsequently, as you lecturing and I was gratified by the results, I discovered the magical side of teaching and what was actually teach a delicate “mission” for which patience, tolerance, understanding, but also seriousness, authority and conviction should not never miss. Certainly it is always very difficult to know how to dose all these components in the right way, but it is the great challenge that teaching throws you: find the right key to open the hearts and minds of your students, to get gradually to win their trust .
You are planning new work record?
For now I’m working on a few projects that are likely to become even record.
This article is available also in: Italian